Plastic is made to never dissolve. Once in the environment, it never goes away. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic winds up in our beautiful oceans. It is easy to feel helpless in situations like these, but every action that results in cutting plastic usage can help save this world. Here are 6 easy ways you can cut back plastic usage in your everyday life.

1. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

beer, wine
Laura Bailey

I know, I know. It sounds so simple, right? Well, according to the Ban Your Bottle campaign, Americans use over 50 million water bottles a year. Make it a part of your everyday habits by grabbing that reusable bottle before you walk out the door, or by keeping it in your book bag. 

2. Say No to the To-Go Bag

supermarket, Grocery, Market, Trader Joe's, checkout, shopping, Shopping bag
Caroline Ingalls

More and more towns and cities are opting in for a plastic bag tax—an additional fee a customer has to pay per plastic bag. Help out the environment by bringing your own reusable grocery bags to travel with. If your town/city abides by this law, it'll even save you money. If not, do it anyway. This will help cut back plastic bag numbers immensely.

3. Skip the Straw

wheat, cereal, pasta, straw, flour
Sarah Silbiger

Starbucks, Dunkin', cafés, restaurants...The straw situation is getting out of hand. We've all seen that sad video of someone pulling a straw out of a sea turtle's nose (not gonna link it because I don't want to make you cry right now). Drink straight from your cup, or invest in a cute, reusable glass or metal straw. 

4. Invest in Reusable Plastic Baggies

Sandwich, snack, and freezer baggies are almost essential in every kitchen for storage and on-the-go meals. Because they are so thin and porous, these baggies absorb smells and bacteria, making them hard to reuse. Luckily, BlueAvocado has created an environmentally friendly version that is microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe. They are made from food-grade silicone, and contain no petroleum, BPA, or latex, meaning they're better for the environment and your health. 

5. Bring Your Own Mug to Coffee Shops

coffee, tea, espresso, cappuccino, milk
Rebecca Block

It can be tedious to bring your own thermos or mug to your favorite local coffee shop, we get it, but the plastic lining in every disposable paper coffee cup adds up to be a pretty big deal. You can buy reusable coffee mugs at most coffee shops, so you don't even have to go out of the way to cut back. Some of those shops will even offer you a little discount for bringing your own cup! 

6. Try Using a Menstrual Cup

Using a reusable menstrual cup cuts down on period waste. Although it seems intimidating, a menstrual cup can save you tons of money in the long run. It is easier to take care of than it seems. Products such as DivaCup have lost cost options with an entire "How it Works" section on their website. Cut back plastic usage by using this instead of tampons or pads, all of which use an unnecessary amount of plastic.

And that's all we'll give you so it doesn't get overwhelming. Stay tuned for more ways to easily cut back plastic usage later on in the semester. For now, try incorporating these one, two, or even six of these easy habit changes into your everyday life, and you will be helping save our environment.